Field Test: Davosa Military

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I have pretty much always been a dive watch guy. I own a dress watch and a vintage field watch, but almost everyday a dive watch is what I reach for in the morning. This is somewhat intentional as I’ve learned I’m really hard on my gear and watches fall into that category for me. Dive watches are built for unforgiving environments and so I’ve defaulted to them. So when I got the opportunity to test out Davosa’s Military Vintage Automatic watch it was somewhat outside of my norm, but I jumped at the chance.

DAVOSA_MILITARY_1Davosa is a Swiss Made brand with a line that ranges far and wide. From dress watches, to tritium tubed chronographs, to quartz watches they cover a lot of ground. The Military Vintage Automatic falls in their Automatic line and is somewhat difficult to define. It takes inspiration from both vintage big crowned field watches and big crowned pilot watches. It’s one of my favorites amongst their broad offering. To test out the Davosa, I spent a month using it daily. I took it backpacking in California, to a trade show in Salt Lake City, wore it to work and client meetings, on date nights with my girlfriend, and even to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I figured a multitude of activities would give me a full view of the Davosa for better or worse.

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When you first see the Military Vintage the immediate thing you notice is the black PVD coating on the steel case. While most field and pilot watches are brushed or bead blasted steel, the black PVD really works well here. It’s not shiny or eye catching, but lends a purpose built air to it and striking in a way. Having not owned a PVD watch personally (and having seen DLC fail on other watches) I had concerns as to how the coating would hold up. Any concerns were completely misplaced. After the month of wear the PVD Davosa used came away looking brand new, a rarity for me regardless of a watch’s finish.

DAVOSA_MILITARY_10Inside the case beats the ubiquitous and solidly reliable ETA 2824-2, not sexy, but it gets the job done. The case has clean lines that feel familiar while still managing to be distinct. The big crown is certainly a factor to this. Deep knurling to the crown make it easy to grip and made the case pop. With a 42mm diameter and 12.80mm high case couple with the big crown, I did find the Military Vintage to wear larger on the wrist than its measurements would belie. The case back featured a deeply etched Davosa engraving which looked fine, but was not PVD. To me carrying the PVD to the case back would have been worth the full blackout effect. The 20 ATM water resistance was great to see on this since although it’s not made as a dive watch, it is clearly a tool watch.

The dial on the Military Vintage is as its name would imply “vintage”. It uses a very Pilot-esque  Arabic layout with the Flieger big triangle at 12’oclock. The vintage Superluminova lume looks aged on the black dial and matches well with the beige stitching on the leather strap. It charged quickly and at night it glowed a bright and legible green. Typically I can take or leave a date window on a watch, but I came to really like and use the date window on the Davosa. The small red indicator arrow was a subtle yet effective visual cue that I found myself using frequently. The generously lumed Losange style hands coupled with the large Arabic numerals made quickly telling the time very easy (handy when sprinting through an airport to catch a connection). My only negative on the dial was the side of the hour hand appeared to have white paint sporadically showing through where it should have been all black.

DAVOSA_MILITARY_4The strap on the Military Vintage was a comfortable and supple hand stitched vintage leather with a Davosa signed PVD pin buckle. The leather Davosa chose for the strap was an excellent compliment to the vintage feel of the watch reminiscent of something made from a WWII ammo pouch. Again the PVD coating was rock solid as the buckle picked up zero scratches.

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Overall I came away very pleased with the Davosa. I wasn’t familiar with the brand before getting to test the Military Vintage Automatic and it made a solid impression. For quite a unique looking watch I enjoyed how it was at home in a variety of situations without seeming out of place or its depth. The vintage look isn’t for everyone, but Davosa did an excellent job putting their own spin on it. While I had a few small nitpicks here and there nothing was of substance and just personal preference. Should you be looking for a unique take on a tool watch, Davosa is worth a look. Don’t be surprised if it grows on you.

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Jon is a native New Englander who enjoys traveling as much as returning home. He has a passion for watches that his significant other kindly tolerates whilst shaking her head in consternation. A tendency to plow through life with little finesse has led him to appreciate and pursue the utility of a good tool watch.
thevanman
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  • Curmudgeon

    Yes, this is definitely a decent looking Davosa. Of course, the whole date treatment doesn’t work at all with the quasi pilot styling, and the size could have been considerably smaller. But what really bothers me is seeing the brand name Davosa. After my experiences, I wouldn’t touch one with a pole! A few years ago I purchased a brand new one because, in addition to being sort of beautiful, it had a very interesting movement: a Unitas with a power reserve indicator and a moonphase function. It was love at first sight when I received it, but after a week, the power reserve dropped from the rated 48 hours to around 12 hours. Not good. So, without question, the watch was replaced. The new one lasted about three weeks until the same problem occurred. But this time they weren’t nice at all about it. After blaming it all on me, they charged several hundred bucks to fix it. “Fix it????” That was a joke because a few weeks after the repair it completely malfunctioned again. Now, the watch is just sitting dead in a drawer after costing me close to 2k. So, to put a final touch to this honestly justified rant, I feel Davosa has real quality and quality control issues, and their customer service is disgusting!

  • 200 Fathoms

    The curved bottom of the 12-o’clock triangle makes me feel a bit nauseous. I also can’t understand the appeal of this type of date treatment. It makes the dial unnecessarily busy. Why do I care about seeing the day before or after? Form should follow function. Finally—manufacturers should really avoid using the word “vintage” in a product name. It’s a bit cheesy. It’s similar to Junkers putting “Bauhaus” on the dial of their Max Bill rip-offs. You don’t need to actually say it, people.

  • Rakesh Ashok

    Thats the ugliest crown I’ve seen on a pseudo military pilot watch. The dial for some reason doesn’t seem to work no matter how I look at it.

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